Sinclair considers buying 40 acres near I-675 for new learning center

Sinclair Community College could spend between $6 million and $10 million to open a new learning center in southeast Montgomery County near Interstate 675.

The college is considering buying 40 acres of land including a building at 5800 Clyo Road in Centerville, Sinclair officials told the Dayton Daily News. The 100,000-square-foot building is currently home to Far Hills Church.

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Sinclair has signed a refundable purchase option, giving it first right of refusal on the sale of the property, according to president and CEO Steve Johnson.

The board of trustees will consider the purchase at a Sept. 19 meeting, Sinclair spokesman Adam Murka said. If Sinclair decides to buy the property, the college would be able to pay for it in cash and would not have to take out a loan, Johnson said.

“If we were going to build a branch this is what we would build,” Johnson said. “We could really do something with this. This could really be big.”

The building actually looks nothing like a church and seems more like a school, Johnson said. The building has around 20 classrooms already and will not require any major changes other than some fresh paint, desks and equipment, he and Murka said.

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The building, less than a mile from I-675 and near Wilmington Pike, also includes a childcare facility, a coffee shop and cafe area, a kitchen, two gymnasiums and an auditorium that seats 1,500 people, according to documents provided by Sinclair.

Sinclair offers 225 degree programs at its downtown Dayton campus. Sinclair already offers courses at locations in Eaton, Englewood, Huber Heights, Mason and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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The new learning center would likely offer most general education classes but could also offer space for the school’s veterinary technician program. With 30 acres besides the building, Sinclair’s vet program could bring in animals that it doesn’t have the space for at its downtown campus, Johnson said.

Johnson said the college would also consider using the location for drone flights as part of its unmanned aerial systems program and that Sinclair will seek to partner with other organizations to use the learning center.

“I think if we purchase it and we re-purpose it as a college and community partnership facility, I think it will be very popular. I think it would be very positive enhanced amenity for the region.,” Johnson said.

If the property is purchased, Sinclair will probably have a “soft open” in January 2018 and could begin offering classes at the location that spring or summer, officials said.

Sinclair has been considering a new learning center in the I-675 corridor for years, Johnson said. The Clyo Road location caught their attention because of all of the development nearby, Johnson said.

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The church building, which is around 15-years-old, was looking to downsize, said Tom Kretz, a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway who said he is doubling as a spokesman for the church while the purchase is in flux.

“What we were looking for was a best fit buyer, a responsible steward,” Kretz said. “It’s a good fit and they’ll take care of it.”

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